Photography, Cycling and the Internets

Poor Performance – My initial thoughts on Tivo

So my Tivo arrived, and I am disappointed. I can’t help but compare it to my old ReplayTV. To give it credit, the setup process was very simple, and the wizard was very easy to use. However, it did take quite a long time and the status indicators had a tendency to lie. For example, it would count up Loading from 1-100% only to be switched to Organizing. I don’t really care what it’s doing, I just want it to be over at 100%.

Anyways, to understand my real disappointments, you have to look to the usability. Now I was really hoping for quite a bit. The ReplayTV had a very utilitarian UI. It did what it was supposed to do, and not much more. It did require you to learn a bit, but it worked great. After seeing Tivo menus at my friends’ houses, I always admired the great looking UI. The animations, sliding effects and nice colors were great. I used to think that maybe Tivo had an edge that ReplayTV didn’t.

My initial thoughts were wrong. The first thing I noticed when I started using the Tivo is it is really slow to respond to remote commands. I constantly find myself overshooting my target position because my commands get queued up and executed slowly. I even tried to add my Yahoo ID to the little weather app. After 10 minutes of moving the cursor to the various characters to type in my ID and password, I overshot the submit item and ended up back at the opening screen somehow. It didn’t cache my previous information. I am not about to sit through that anytime soon again.

In addition to the slow remote response (which is why I am now convinced is the reason why all the cutesy little noises are required) the channel guide (especially when in grid mode) feels really clunky. I am surprised by this behavior, especially in the Series 2 with all of the software updates that should have happened since it released ages ago.

I know some things that I really liked are gone forever, such as the automatic commercial advance. But simple little features like jumping to a specific minute of a show is great for moving to a specific point in an educational show that you want to re-watch is something I expected to be available and isn’t.

I realize that I do need to acclimate some to the new box and I am sure I will find the right groove. The dual tuners is nice, and I don’t have to be creative about my recording strategy. Now I can record the real news and the Daily show at the same time.

The navigation model is interesting, and I am sure I will have some comments on it after using it for awhile.

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3 responses

  1. Thank you for your real-world response to Tivo. All I’ve heard is raves, so it’s nice to see the other side.

    December 14, 2006 at 10:03 am

  2. Mike L

    Congratulations, you’re the only person on the planet who has issues with their Tivo. BTW, there is a remote easter egg for commercial skipping.

    December 26, 2006 at 12:37 am

  3. The remote easter egg is for 30 second skip, not automatic commercial advance. With automatic commercial advance, it isn’t necessary to pick up the remote at all.

    December 26, 2006 at 10:00 pm

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